Washington: US has welcomed the historic decision of a tribunal in Cambodia, which announced the first conviction of a major Khamer Rouge figure in connection with the deaths of 1.7 million people under the 1975-1979 regime.
"We welcome historic decision of the tribunal and the completion of the trial against Kaing Guek Eav, also known as Duch, the former director of the infamous Khmer Rouge
detention centre S-21," State Department spokesman P J Crowley told reporters at his daily news conference late yesterday.
"We applaud the commitment of the national and international judges for their comprehensive and independent work to uphold international standards of justice and due
process in this case," Crowley said.
A UN-backed court yesterday sentenced Kaing Guek Eav, 67, the commandant of the central Khmer Rouge prison and torture house, to 35 years in prison, a term that was reduced to 19 years because of time already served and in compensation for a period of illegal military detention.
His term could be reduced for good behaviour. This is for the first time in recent Cambodian history that a former senior government official had been made accountable for serious human rights violations.
It is also for first time such a trial had been held that met international standards of justice.